Ngo 38.5

Everyday is filled with spectacular moments. Seek them! – Laila Gifty Akita


Everyday magic.

The gift of inertia that rescues a speeding but stalled motorbike and eases it to the curb.

A hand-drawn marauder’s map, guiding a wayward soul to buried treasure.

A tow-truck push from a kind stranger, rescuing the one who doesn’t know his way.

An unheralded, astonishing lane, hidden in plain sight, drenched in wonder.

Am I really here


What’s wrong with your bike?

I’m shaken from my daydream, lost, as the mechanic twists wires and rebuilds connections, by nearly flawless English.

What happened to your bike?

I look down at the face of a girl, no more than 8, peering up at me, to the bike, then back at me.

Oh, sorry! I don’t know, but it’s not running any more.

Do you know what happened?

Well, I got into an accident the other day with my son, and then today it stopped working.

Are you okay?

Yep, I’m fine.

That’s good.

She notices my badge and her eyes light up.

You work at the school! I have a friend there! I have a friend there!

She dances, just a bit.

We banter back and forth, she’s filled with questions. I share a bit about what grade I teach, and she asks after my son.

He’s okay. I was the only one who got hurt, a bit.

I show her my road rash, she grimaces.

I’m okay though.

Her mom returns, a bag of fresh greens in hand. She explains in rapid Vietnamese what I assume is my life story. Her mom smiles and nods at me. And as they prepare to leave she adds

My name is Xiang

Nice to meet you, Xiang

Nice to meet you too. I’m glad you’re okay.

And, like that, she’s gone, pixie dust trailing her wake.


I’m struck, just a little, by magic that has happened, on Ngo 38, here, today.

By kindnesses shown to a random stranger, help found, when needed, from others. By what is now, clearly, a pattern of goodness

of care.

I don’t think this is unusual for Vietnamese. And the more I travel, I find that this is not unusual for humans. A sense of sharing, of kindness, a willingness

to say

I see you

and

are you okay

and

how can I help

And how sometimes, small humiliation compels us to better reach, and then share, our humanity.

To remind ourselves, that when we step back off the curb, take in what is before our eyes, and extend our hand


we make magic

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

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11 Comments

  1. A love the white text on the black background. It added some mystery, and I also liked the ending with how we make magic. I think we need more of this, “To remind ourselves, that when we step back off the curb, take in what is before our eyes, and extend our hand.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Man. Especially today when I soapboxed forever to my kids about Asian hate crimes I get to read this. I am an instant fan. This is really cool. I like your style a lot. Great talent – great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a beautiful slice of life. I especially love the way you add hints of magical qualities to the little girl–the dancing, the pixie dust. The kindnesses of strangers really are magic. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really like how you are stretching out this story and delving into the richness of it. I especially noted the universality in the line “ She explains in rapid Vietnamese what I assume is my life story” to her mom. And the image of the little face looking up, grimacing at your hurt, then disappearing leaving pixie dust in her wake is just lovely.

    Like

  5. This is mesmerizingly beautiful. The words float of the page creating images in my mind and heart. I love the final line: To remind ourselves, that when we step back off the curb, take in what is before our eyes, and extend our hand

    we make magic

    it is the choices we make that are truly magical – thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such beauty. The quote underneath the link to this post on Two Writing Teachers, “Always be a poet, even in prose” is perfect for this piece. I love all the parts of this–the beginning–with the list of everyday magical events–just that would be enough for a lovely post–and then the sweet story of your encounter with Xiang. I love the way you describe her dancing a little and leaving pixie dust in her wake. And then the poetry of the ending….I love these lines: “And the more I travel, I find that this is not unusual for humans. A sense of sharing, of kindness, a willingness/to say/I see you/and/are you okay/and/how can I help”. This slice makes me feel hopeful for the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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